A Shetland port has reported a 26% increase in business due to booming oil and gas activity around the islands.

Work both east and west of Shetland has caused a swell of activity at Lerwick harbour.

Last night port bosses said the figures justified their decision to deepen and expand parts of the historic site.

The new Greenhead Berth 7 – which has been deepened by nearly 30ft – will provide an additional 300ft of quay from November.

The tonnage of oil-related shipping was up 26% in the first half of this year, compared with 2012, with cargo shipments up 42.5%.

Lerwick Port Authority chief executive, Sandra Laurenson, said: “The high activity in support of the sector’s operations offshore and onshore means Berth 7 will come into use immediately it is available.

“The positive outlook for the foreseeable future underlines our proactive strategy for the continuing development of the port, with an anticipated capital spend of more than £20million within the next two years.”

Schemes in the pipeline include additional sites for industry, more lay-down areas and deep-water berths.

Ms Laurenson added: “Further ahead, the infrastructure for oil and gas closely matches likely requirements by the offshore renewables sector in any future northern North Sea developments. The authority is providing assistance to inquiries.”